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14 May 2018
Latest in War Memorial books published
Ryedale Family History Group have published two new books as part of the successful War Memorial series of books, that have been researched and written over the last four years as part of a Heritage Lottery Funded Project.
These two new books are, ‘Kirkdale, Nawton, Beadlam, Skiplam and Wombleton War Memorials’ and ‘Rievaulx, Old Byland, Scawton and Cold Kirby War Memorials ‘.
A copy of the ‘Kirkdale’ book was presented to the Reverend Susan Binks on Sunday 13 May at St.Gregory’s Minster, Stonegrave. This book is dedicated to the memory of the late Libby Capstick, whose personal knowledge of Nawton and Beadlam and the families whose ancestors are commemorated on these war memorials, has led to a unique story. Libby Capstick was an early member of the group and a leading contributor to this book.
The ‘Kirkdale’ book has mini histories of the 36 men commemorated on the various war memorials in the parish, it includes many photographs and copies of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission certificates for each person.
The Reverend Susan Binks who wrote the Foreword for the Kirkdale book said “For as we read of their families, work, hobbies and hopes so cruelly cut short, they come alive to us - no longer just names and numbers… and if you are curious to know their stories you will find the answers here.”
The ‘Rievaulx, Old Byland, Scawton and Cold Kirby War Memorials’ book contains histories of the men commemorated on the local war memorials in the parish, along with information about those on the Roll of Honour. At Scawton church there is a memorial plaque to commemorate the five Free French Airmen who were killed when their Halifax bomber crashed on its way back to Elvington airfield on 15 March 1945.
Peter Braithwaite, Project Lead said “These two books represent the culmination of a great deal of research and hard work by a number of volunteers and I thank each of them for their contributions and in particular to Libby Capstick whose put so much into this project, I am sure she would have been proud of the result.”
Both books can be found in local bookshops or through the website www.ryedalefamilyhistory.org

May Meeting

‘The History of Ryedale Show’ is the topic of the next talk for the Ryedale Family History Group, on Wednesday 16 May at 7.30pm at The Village Hall, Pottergate, Gilling East, YO62 4JJ.
The talk is being given by Suzanne
Stirke, who along with Christine Thompson wrote a commemorative brochure on the history of Ryedale Show to celebrate the 150th show in 2016.
Ryedale Show was set up in 1855 and has run more or less continuously since, except for a couple of occasions.  Ryedale Show is a popular traditional agricultural show, which initially brought together landlord and tenant.  In the early years the show rotated around the 3 market towns of Helmsley, Kirkbymoorside and Pickering before settling in 1965 to a permanent venue at Welburn Park.
The Yorkshire Gazette of the late 1800’s gives many favourable articles on the great successes of the show and increasing number of entries year on year.  There are still family names showing today whose ancestors were there in those early years.  The agricultural shows gave people an opportunity to see the latest methods in agriculture and scientific advancements.

The meeting is open to everyone and refreshments will be available along with a raffle at the end of the meeting. If you live in the area and need transport to this meeting or any future meeting, please contact the office on 01653 628132 or mobile 07813 977613 or email: secretary@ryedalefamilyhistory.org.
06 April 2018

April Meeting
Ryedale Family History Group’s next meeting is taking place on Wednesday 18 April, starting at 7.30pm, in the Village Hall, Hovingham, YO62 4LF.  The speaker will be Gillian Waters, talking about the ‘Pilgrimage of Grace 1536’.
The Pilgrimage of Grace was a popular uprising starting in Yorkshire, before spreading to other parts of the ‘North’.  On Sunday 15 October 1536 a large rebel army assembled at York's city gates, calling themselves 'pilgrims' in defiance of Henry VIII's religious changes and flying the banner of the five wounds of Christ. The next day 5,000 horsemen entered the city of York led by Robert Aske of Aughton.
 Gilliam Waters said, “This ‘Pilgrimage of Grace’ was one of the largest rebellions of the Tudor regime with between 20-40,000 gentry and yeomen mustering against the crown and marching to Doncaster. Discover how and why these armies were raised, why the rebellion failed to achieve its aims and the dire consequences of rebellion against the early Tudor state.”
Freda Shaw, Talks Secretary said, “ We are delighted to have Gillian come to talk to us, she has so much expertise on this medieval period, as well as being a local and family historian and lecturer.  This was a turbulent time in our history and Gillian will bring this to life at the meeting.” 

The meeting is open to everyone and refreshments will be available along with a raffle at the end of the meeting. If you live in the area and need transport to this meeting or any future meeting, please contact the office on 01653 628132 or mobile 07813 977613 or email:

09 March 2018

March Meeting
The next meeting of Ryedale Family History Group is on Wednesday 21 March at 7.30pm at Malton Rugby Club, Old Malton Road, Malton YO17 7EY.  The speaker is Ruth Rising, Project Leader, North Yorkshire County Record Office talking about the project ‘Grounds for Appeal’ - Military Service Tribunals in the North Riding.
The Military Service Act of 1916 made it compulsory for all single and widowed men aged between 18 and 41 to serve in the army.  In 1918 this was extended to include single and married men up the age of 51, unless in a reserved occupation.
To seek exemption from service an appeal had to be made to a local tribunal and could be from the man, his employer, a relative, or a solicitor acting on the man’s behalf.  The grounds for appeal ranged from serious hardship to conscientious objection, ill health and infirmity to education or training, as well as claiming the man was in an exempt occupation. If they were not satisfied with the decision then an appeal could be made to the county tribunal by the original appellant or a military representative.In 1921 the Board of Health ordered the destruction of these papers.  However, due to an oversight the North Riding Appeal Tribunal papers survived. There are 5,809 index entries, and a corresponding but incomplete set of case papers that have survived.
North Yorkshire County Record Office with a Heritage Lottery Grant has been able to open these previously unseen files working with a team of volunteers.  Ruth Rising will be talking about this project and the value of these papers.
Peter Braithwaite, Ryedale Family History Group project leader for the War Memorial Project said, “These papers are hugely important to anyone researching World War One and the local area.  I recommend this talk to anyone as it will be a fascinating insight of a relatively unknown source of information pertinent to the time.”
The meeting is open to everyone and refreshments will be available along with a raffle at the end of the meeting. If you live in the area and need transport to this meeting or any future meeting, please contact the office on 01653 628132 or mobile 07813 977613 or email: secretary@ryedalefamilyhistory.org.

6 January 2018

January Meeting
Ryedale Family History Group starts their new programme of talks for 2018, on Wednesday 17 January at 2.00pm at The Village Hall, Hovingham, York, YO62 4LF with a talk by Ian Tomlinson ‘Stained Glass – a mystery trade’

Ian Tomlinson is a Master Glazier who has worked with the York Glaziers Trust and has been involved in a number of conservation projects in York and nationally.  Ian Tomlinson says, “ Stained glass is all around us but how much do we know about it, how it is made, the different types of glass and how a window is constructed.  I will be answering those questions and presenting an insight into a trade that has been around for 1000 years.”
Ian Tomlinson will bring along part of his workshop so there will be glass, tools and equipment to see and handle, along with a panel under construction.
Janice Wood, Chairman of the group said, “We are delighted to launch our new talks with Ian Tomlinson.  We are also trying out a new time for our meetings in January, and February which will start at 2.00pm.”

The meeting is open to everyone and refreshments will be available along with a raffle at the end of the meeting. If you live in the area and need transport to this meeting or any future meeting, please contact the office on 01653 628132 or mobile 07813 977613 or email: secretary@ryedalefamilyhistory.org.

10 November 2017

‘My Family Tree’ Young Person’s Competition

Earlier this year, Ryedale Family History Group launched a Young Person’s Family Tree competition which is open to anyone, anywhere, interested in finding out about their family tree.

A special booklet has been produced to record all the information and with space to add in stories and memories along with photographs. The booklet is available from Ryedale Family History Group either call in to the Research Room at Hovingham Village Hall to collect one or we can post one out to you along with the rules of the competition.

There is still time to enter as the closing date isn’t until 31st December and it could be a family activity for the Christmas period.

Research Room Update

We have been enjoying an upsurge in visitors to the Research Room in recent months. We have all found it fascinating to help beginners start off on the road to many years of enjoyment (and frustration) discovering their family history. There have been visitors from the local area as well as further afield, along with our requests for help from overseas members. Come along and let us get you started or help with a tricky part of your research, always good to get a new view on brick walls.

New War Memorial book

We are eagerly awaiting delivery of the latest book in the War Memorial series; ‘Nawton, Farndale, and Bransdale’. This book has been researched by Monumental Inscriptions Co-ordinator and volunteer Rita Gibson and it will be available shortly through our website and local outlets as well as the Research Room at Hovingham.

Research Room Christmas Closures

The research Room will be closed on 21st and 28th December and will be open again for visitors on Thursday 4th January 2018. We would all like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Hopefully there will be time to further your research over the festive period.

3 November 2017

November Meeting

DNA testing is becoming a much more common part of researching family trees. At the next meeting of the Ryedale Family History Group on Wednesday 15 November at 7.30pm at the Royal Voluntary Centre, 29 Hungate, Pickering YO18, Geoff King will talk about ‘DNA and Family History.’

DNA testing has become popular in recent years and is very easy to carry out; it can be a very useful tool for family historians. There are a number of companies offering various tests and it can be difficult to make the decision as to which test to go for and how helpful the results will be.

Geoff King, Membership Secretary, will be unraveling the complexities of the DNA test and describing how the information that uniquely characterised our recent and remote ancestors has passed down to us in our DNA. Geoff King says, “This information can be unlocked and used in various ways to discover who you are and who shares your ancestry. Using examples from my family tree and connections that were made, or not made, the value of the test will be demonstrated. This will be based on the testing offered by one of the major subscription sites for family history research, but the tests offered by other sites will be covered also.”

Geoff King also said, “I will be explaining how to make best use of this new technology which can enhance your family tree, open up new information from others who may share your DNA. There are also pitfalls to watch out for and it can mislead you. My experience has thrown up lots of questions and more years of research ahead of me!”

The meeting is open to everyone and refreshments will be available along with a raffle at the end of the meeting. If you live in the area and need transport to this meeting or any future meeting, please contact the office on 01653 628132 or mobile 07813 977613 or email: secretary@ryedalefamilyhistory.org
October 2017 Meeting

Ryedale Family History Groups’ next meeting is on Wednesday 18th October at 7.30pm and will be held in The Village Hall, Hovingham, York YO62 4LF.  The speaker is Geoffrey Snowden, who will be talking about ‘Yearsley Mill, the Millers and the Landowners’.  

The Yearsley Moor Archeological Project started in 2009, following three years of painstaking research and field survey work by Yearsley Moor Archaeological Project volunteers and North York Moors National Park apprentices; evidence of a watermill 500 years old was unearthed.

The Yearsley Mill Research Project is a community project set up to investigate this unrecorded medieval water mill site between Gilling Park and Yearsley Moor.  They completed the excavations earlier this year and found, amongst other things, the remains of the mill wheel, a complete mill stone and over 6,500 sherds of pottery, some of which may have been made by members of the Wedgewood family who lived in Yearsley during the 17th and 18th century.  The excavation yielded a large number of other finds of interest such as coins and glass.  The work also confirmed there were a number of buildings at the site.

Geoffrey Snowden, a volunteer on the project said, “The volunteers undertook a great deal of documentary research into the people who lived and worked there, which has also revealed the names of some of the millers; the last one was a George Yoward who died in 1724. We have been able to trace his descendants who now live in the south of England, they have an interest in mills but did not realise that they had had a miller in the family!”

The meeting is open to everyone and refreshments will be available along with a raffle. If you live in the area and need transport to this meeting or any future meeting, please contact the office on 01653 628132 or mobile 07813 977613 or email: secretary@ryedalefamilyhistory.org.

The Yearsley Moor Archaeological Project forms part of the Lime and Ice Project, a 5 year project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, with additional support from North York Moors National Parks Authority, Howardian Hills AONB, English Heritage, Natural England and the Forestry Commission. The objective of the YMAP part of the project was to expand the knowledge and understanding of the history of this unique area, and to use the results and information gained in a variety of ways, including new way-markings.


September 2017 Meeting

Ryedale Family History Group’s next meeting is on Wednesday 20 September at 7.30pm at All Saint’s Church, Helmsley YO62 6PS.  The speaker will be Professor Harold Mytum talking about ‘Beyond Names & Dates – Why memorials are so important.’  

Professor Harold Mytum said, “Graveyard memorials are well known for providing information about the names and dates of those commemorated, but what else can we learn from the numerous monuments in our graveyards? What do they tell us about the living and the dead?”

Harold Mytum, an archaeologist who has been studying graveyard memorials for over 40 years, will show how these objects produced over the last two centuries can reveal social and cultural trend, and the ways in which people of all classes made choices about their memorials and so reveal their preferences in ways that few other sources can provide.

Janice Wood, Chairman of Ryedale Family History Group said, “This event is quite different in that it will take place both inside the church and if light enough outside the church to look at some of the memorials with Professor Mytum.  Our volunteers spend many hours transcribing memorials and capturing the information on them as they are a valuable resource for those researching family and local history.”



29th July 2017

Short Story Winner

At Ryedale Family History Group’s Annual General Meeting on 19th July at the Village Hall, Hovingham, Sue Styles was presented with a lifetime membership award as winner of the annual short story competition of 1000 words, held earlier in the year, with the theme, ‘The ancestor I would most like to have met is…’

Sue Styles’ winning story, ‘The ancestor I would most like to have met is…. my great grandmother, Kate O’Connor,’ was chosen from many worthy entries. It is the story of poverty, love, and tragedy, in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Peter Braithwaite said “This year’s submissions were of a very high standard with a range of stories that made good reading. Thank you to our independent judge for again taking on this role for us and congratulations to Sue on winning with her story of the harshness of life in the East End of London.”

Sue Styles said, “ I am delighted to have been chosen and very pleased to be able to share the story of my Great Grandmother with others. This all came about because I picked up a Ryedale Family History Group flyer. Kate's family history has made a huge impression on me and I've continued to research the period in which she lived, imagining what life was like from their perspective and experiences.”

Sue's Story:

The ancestor I would most like to have met is……my great grandmother, Kate O’Connor.

When I picked up a RFHG flyer in Hovingham church last summer, whilst rehearsing for a concert, little did I know that it would lead me to a meeting with my great grandmother.  I had some limited family history information, mostly from my grandmother who had written a sketchy family tree before she died in 1991, so I decided to join the Group and was given some invaluable guidance by Janice before setting off on my own to see what I could discover.

Kate O’Connor was someone I had heard about from my mother and grandmother, and inevitably, given her name, she was said to have been the daughter of an Irish chieftain, Charles O’Connor. How family legends can grow!

The reality was at first sight more mundane – both she and her parents, Charles and Helena O’Connor, were born in East London – but as I delved into her past through the Family Search free census information and using the Resource room and the library’s Ancestry membership, I discovered a much more compelling tale – one of poverty, love, happiness, tragedy and betrayal.

Born in Poplar in 1875, the 4th of 11 children, Kate later escaped the poverty of London’s docklands where her father worked as a wine porter.  At the age of 17, she secured a live-in position as barmaid at the Red Lion Inn, 39 Beak Street in Westminster, run by a Yorkshireman called James Pawson from Huddersfield.  In 1895 Kate fell in love and married Thomas Henry Pratt, a handsome, newly-qualified silversmith and Freeman of the City of London. Thomas had been apprenticed to a master silversmith, William Comyns, and my investigations through the Goldsmiths’ Company revealed the latter’s address as 41, Beak St, Westminster – right next door to the inn where Kate worked. It didn’t need a genius to work out how Kate and Thomas had met, even if his indenture contract had prohibited him from “haunting Taverns or Playhouses”!

Unsurprisingly, given Kate’s family background, the marriage did not have the blessing of Thomas’s widowed father, wealthy proprietor of Thomas Pratt and Sons, a prestigious London firm of church furnishers and clerical tailors that provided robes for the Archbishop of Canterbury, among others.  When the 28 year-old Thomas died of TB only 6 years later in 1901, leaving Kate a widow with two young daughters, she received no support from her husband’s family.  She was forced to put her little daughters into the City of London Freemen’s Orphans school in Ferndale, Brixton, whose purpose was ‘the maintenance and the religious and virtuous education of orphans of Freemen of the City of London’, in order that she, Kate, might be able to re-train and find work.  In the 1911 census the girls, then aged 12 and 13, were still boarders at the school, while Kate was now a ‘maternity nurse’ in Poplar – perhaps one of the original “Call the Midwife” nurses?

Life continued to punish poor Kate.  In 1917 her beloved eldest daughter Kathleen died aged 20, also of TB, and only 5 years later Kate herself would die at the age of 47, following surgery for lung cancer during which, as she told her daughter shortly before she died, she heard a nurse saying that a needle might have been left in her body.  

Fortunately for me Kate’s younger daughter, Doris, survived, married and moved away from the disease-ridden East End, had three children including my mother, and so my existence was made possible. My grandmother lived to 93, and kept beautiful photographs of her much-loved parents, along with a locket they had had made with both of their pictures in, which I now have and treasure.

And so, whilst I would dearly love to have met Kate in person, by piecing together the stages of her life and seeing her photographs, I really feel she is now part of my life.

And all because I picked up a flyer!  

20th June 2017

Ryedale Family History Group have just launched their latest publication, Norton on Derwent, St. Peter’s Church and Cemetery Monumental Inscriptions’ which includes the completed transcription of all the headstones in Norton Cemetery along with all the inscriptions inside the Church.   This resource is available either as a CD or download, which includes full colour photographs of every headstone and also a text only book.

This huge project has taken nearly a year to complete by volunteers, over 2,780 headstones were photographed and the inscriptions recorded, maps of the Cemetery were also produced for locating the headstones.  Due to the age of many of these objects, some had become hidden by vegetation and these were carefully cut back to reveal the details, attempts are made to transcribe all information but some are too damaged or weathered for this to be possible.

The work has been carried out by trained volunteers and was co-ordinated by the group’s Monumental Inscriptions Co-ordinator Rita Gibson.  Volunteers Norman and Nid Bridges carried out all the recording of the headstones in the Cemetery and Rita Gibson, along with Jane Jackson undertook transcribing all the inscriptions inside the church.  The volunteers also recorded the few remaining headstones near Derwent Pool where St. Nicholas’ Church once stood that hadn’t been seen before along with some damaged ones.

The Norton cemetery predates St. Peter’s Church (which was completed in 1911) and was opened in 1852, enlarged in 1886 with a further section consecrated in 1920 by the Bishop of Beverley.   It was during the 1850s that many cemeteries were being opened as churchyards became full and posed a serious health risk.  The Burial Acts allowed for the creation of Public Cemeteries, which were run by Burial Boards initially.  Norton Town Council manage the Cemetery as part of their statutory duties.

Janice Wood, Vice Chairman said, “We would like to congratulate Norman, Nid and Rita on all their hard work in completing this project, much of which took place over the winter months.  They did a brilliant job and all credit to them for their stoicism!”


13th June 2017
Story Competition 2017 - The theme for our competition this year is 'When the Bomb Dropped' (whether an actual bomb or a metaphoric one) and the closing date is 31st October. Entries accepted with up to 1,000 words, with or without pictures. (Electronic copy is preferred, as handwritten stories have to be typed up.)

All entrants to our 2016 competition have received a book containing all of the stories submitted.


02 June 2017

June Talk
Keith Goodchild will be the speaker at the next meeting of Ryedale Family History Group on Wednesday 21 June, 7.30pm at the Moorside Bar and Club, Shaw Drive Kirkbymoorside, York YO62 6PS.

Keith Goodchild will be talking about 'The Life of a Life Guard', Keith served for 21 years in the Household Cavalry, and will be sharing some fascinating stories; from Royal Weddings to serving in Bosnia and Northern Ireland, and looking after the uniforms for the musicians and horses of the Household Cavalry Mounted Division. He will also have some interesting items to show, each with its own special story.

Freda Shaw, Programme Secretary said, " The Life Guards have a long history going back hundreds of years and is the senior regiment of the British Army and part of the Household Cavalry. We are looking forward to hearing first hand what is involved and to see items of interest that any ancestors connected with the military might have experienced."

The meeting is free and open to everyone and refreshments will be available along with a raffle. If you live in the area and need transport to this meeting or any future meeting, please contact the office on 01653 628132 or mobile 07813 977613 or email: secretary@ryedalefamilyhistory.org


9 June 2017
Latest War Memorial book published
Ryedale Family History Group have just published the second volume of the Castle Howard Estate Villages as part of their series of books on War Memorials in Ryedale, this is the12th book in the collection.
The book includes the War Memorials of Barton le Street, Coneysthorpe, Bulmer, Slingsby and Welburn.  Mini biographies of each soldier recorded on the Memorials has been fully researched and written by volunteer members of the group, mainly by Martin Knight and Peter Braithwaite and with contributions by other members.
The book contains information about all 40 men who are commemorated on these War Memorials.  At Slingsby the Memorial includes Fryton and South Holme, out of the 20 men who were killed from those villages, half were pairs of brothers; five families lost 2 men each.  One of the pairs of brothers; the Pearce brothers, James Pearce who was a 2nd Lieutenant with the 2nd West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales Own) was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal in 1918, the London Gazette citation included the following: "For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty whilst in charge of a convoy. Owing to the heavy shelling the animals became straggled and many bogged, with exceptional coolness and total disregard of personal safety he moved up and down, helping and cheering the men and undoubtedly saving many animals by his gallant conduct."
Peter Braithwaite, Chairman of Ryedale Family History Group said, "It is very rewarding to be part of the research team, bringing the lives of these courageous men to the attention of a modern audience, a 100 years on, we can identify with these men, they had families, many worked locally and some were connected to the estate of Castle Howard."  Peter went on to say, "I would like to thank the many people who contributed items to this project, such as family photographs and who shared their own research such as Michael Collins for his work on Bulmer casualties, also to Dr. Christopher Ridgway for images of Michael Howard, and finally to Hon. Nicholas Howard for writing the Foreword and paying tribute to the men who did not return, which included his great uncle."
The book is available through Ryedale Family History Group and local outlets.  If anyone would like to be involved in this project or in the work of Ryedale Family History Group, contact the Secretary via the Contact Us page on this website.

4 May 2017

May Talk

Ryedale Family History Groups’ next meeting is on Wednesday 17 May at 7.30pm and will be held at the RVS Hungate Centre, 29 Hungate, Pickering, YO18 7DG. The speaker will be Pam Smith talking about ‘Conducting a One-Place Study – based on Rillington’.

A One-Place Study combines family and local history and can be carried out by individuals or as a group. The research involves looking at the residents, the local environment and events that took place within a village or a town. Wide ranges of historical records are used along with local memorabilia and memories.

Pam Smith has been a professional genealogist for many years and it was while carrying out work for a client that brought her to Rillington. Pam Smith is studying for the Higher Certificate in Genealogy, Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies and also will be starting the Undergraduate Advanced Diploma in Local History, University of Oxford in the autumn. She is a Co-Founder of Name and Place, a new database and mapping application for Local History projects and One-Place studies, which will launch later on this year.

Pam Smith said, “ I was immediately drawn to the village of Rillington and after my first visit felt that I wanted to know more about the village and its’ development over the centuries. I established ‘Rillington One-Place Study’ in 2013 and registered it with the Society of One-Place Studies. I am a founder member of the Historical Rillington Study Group and continue to work with local residents on this.”

Freda Shaw, Programme Secretary said, “For anyone who is interested in or feels they might be want to set up a One-Place Study this presentation will give much inspiration and ideas. Pam will use her work on Rillington to demonstrate the range of sources available and how much information can be gathered through the community to give a fuller picture of a community through the ages.”

The meeting is open to everyone and refreshments will be available along with a raffle. If you live in the area and need transport to this meeting or any future meeting, please contact the office on 01653 628132 or mobile 07813 977613 or email: secretary@ryedalefamilyhistory.org


6 April 2017

April Meeting

Ryedale Family History Group’s next meeting promises tales of an unusual and unique family history; ‘A Prisoner, a Pirate, a Dog musher and Shipwrecks’ by Colin Narramore takes place on Wednesday 19 April at 7.30pm at The Village Hall, Hovingham, York, YO62 4LF.

Colin Narramore who has been researching family and local history for many years and is a collector of old postcards; whilst stuck for a special present for his wife, decided to research her family history to present to her.

Colin Narramore said, “I was very lucky to be able to talk first hand to my wife’s Father and Uncles, and discovered these four tales of adventure and hardship. Thankfully these important histories have not been forgotten or lost but I have captured them and am able to share these stories of being a prisoner in World War II, encounters with U Boats, achieving world fame as a Dog Musher, and also family Ship Wreckers in and around Robin Hoods Bay and Whitby. My wife was delighted with the results.”

Freda Shaw, Programme Organiser said, “We are looking forward to hearing Colin’s talk, some of the story takes place in Canada, when many people emigrated to make a new life, and certainly these people did with fascinating outcomes.”

The meeting is open to everyone and refreshments will be available along with a raffle. If you live in the area and need transport to this meeting or any future meeting, please contact the office on 01653 628132 or mobile 07813 977613 or email: secretary@ryedalefamilyhistory.org


6th February
Planned visit to the North Yorkshire County Record Office on Tuesday 6th March - There is limited space for this visit. Please book early to avoid disappointment! 

29th January
Another cool day in Ryedale. A good time to stay at home and search for some ancestors! Following the success of our 'How To' day on 23rd January, we are planning some similar sessions and will run a series of classes during this year.
Meanwhile, the Research Room is open to visitors every Thursday, 10am to 3pm. Drop in and see if we can find some of your family's history. We aim to find at least something that you didn't already know - so come and try.

Our next meeting is at the Moorside Club & Bar (formerly the British Legion Club) at Kirkbymoorside. Freda Shaw is going to talk about 'The Village School.'

This photo is of Gilling School. Not sure of the date. Does anyone recognise a face there? We think it's about 1896ish, but do you know different? Email to editor@ryedalefamilyhistory.org if you would like a larger version of this image.


19th January
Happy New Year!


Wishing all our members, past, present and future, a very happy and peaceful Christmas and good fortune in 2017.

 We will be open as usual on THURSDAY 5TH JANUARY.

Our next meeting will be on the 18th January 2017 at North York Moors National Park Authority in Helmsley at 7pm for 7:30pm. Members will have the opportunity to talk about 'My most interesting family member' for a few minutes. Free entry.

16th November 2016

The topic of the next meeting organised by Ryedale Family History Group is on the Archbishops' Registers and will be presented by Gary Brannan at The Village Hall, Hovingham YO62 4LF, on Wednesday 16 November at 7.30pm.

Gary Brannan is Access Archivist at the Borthwick Institute, Gary is responsible for the Medieval collection and encouraging people to look into the treasure trove of Yorkshires' Archives held at the Borthwick Institute at York University.

The Archbishops' Registers record the workings and governance of the Archbishop of York's Office, the earliest register dates from 1225 and is some of the earliest records in the country. The records give details about the management of the church, staffing and appointments along with the church's influence on the moral and spiritual conduct of the population across Yorkshire and Northern England.
The records also cover the major events of the country, such as Magna Carta, the Black Death and the many wars that affected the country.

The digitising of the Archbishops' Registers of the Diocese of York 1225-1646 was a huge project undertaken by the Borthwick Institute and was funded by the Andrew W Mellon Foundation. The project included the conservation of the original documents prior to scanning them, the digitising of the records, along with project development and training associated with these documents.

Freda Shaw, Secretary for Ryedale Family History Group said, " These registers are a major source for the history of the area, giving us an insight into the decisions and workings made by the Archbishop that affected local parishes, including wills and the visits made to the Parishes. As these records are now available on line it has opened up a whole new resource for anyone interested in family and local history. We are looking forward to Gary guiding us through what is available."

Ryedale Family History Group has published their latest book, 'The War Memorials of Settrington, Scagglethorpe and Thorpe Bassett.'  This is the tenth book in the War Memorials series and is launched in their tenth anniversary year.

The book has been researched and written by volunteer and Committee member Carol Fitz-Gibbon, who also wrote a previous book on Thornton le Dale War Memorials and has family connections to these villages.  The book contains mini biographies of the 28 men and one woman who gave their lives in both World Wars and are commemorated on the War Memorials in the three villages.  Carol Fitz-Gibbon said, "A great deal of help has been given by some of the descendants of those killed, including treasured photographs and keepsakes such as a teddy bear which belonged to a man who was killed when the ship he was serving on was hit by enemy aircraft in 1940.  I am very grateful for all the help I have received as these items make the stories so poignant."

Jeremy Durant who is Chairman of the Settrington Village & District Group said "Carol Fitz-Gibbon’s painstaking research has come to fruition in an absorbing and moving account of the brief lives and tragic deaths of people connected to our three villages, most of whom were killed on active service and far from home. Whether their stories end on the Somme in 1916, in Burma in 1944 or in a military hospital, they all died in the service of this country. Their names are recorded on our war memorials ‘Lest we forget.’ This book is a memorial in itself and should ensure that we never forget.”

A copy of the book was presented to the communities at Thorpe Bassett church on 19 April and Settrington church on 24 April.

Copies of the book are available from Rillington Village Stores, Rillington, The Ham & Cheese Inn, Scagglethorpe, Hoppers of Malton, Market Place, Malton and through the Ryedale Family History Group website www.ryedalefamilyhistory.org 

8 May 2016
Latest War Memorial Book

12 May 2016
May Meeting Talk

The next meeting organised by Ryedale Family History Group is on Wednesday 18 May at 7.30pm at the Village Hall, Hovingham, York, YO62 4LF.  The talk entitled 'Scarborough's Maritime Heritage' by Lindy Rowley MBE.

The Scarborough Maritime Heritage Centre opened in 2008, and moved to new premises in 2015.  The centre is truly a 'museum of the sea.' It is an award winning museum and has an excellent website.  The centre has a huge collection of photographs; historical documents and artefacts charting the town's history from being a premier seaside resort, fishing families, to shipbuilding and much more relating to the town.

Freda Shaw, talks organiser for Ryedale Family History Group said, "We are thrilled to have Lindy Rowley to speak at our meeting, she is a well known authority and lively speaker on the history of Scarborough’s relationship with the sea."

The Maritime Heritage Centre is a charity and has many volunteers who run the centre, do talks and work with schools. The centre is open Wednesday to Sunday 11.00am- 4.00pm.

The meeting is open to everyone and refreshments will be available along with a raffle. If you live in the area and need transport to this meeting or any future meeting, please contact the office and we will try to arrange this.

For more details please contact the Janice Wood on 01653 628952 or 07813 977613 or check our website at www.ryedalefamilyhistory.org

The latest update, on 14 May 2016, includes the names AGAR, from Lastingham, COULTMAN, from Thornton Dale, ELLIS, from Pickering, and FOSTER, from Mytholmroyd and Halifax, amongst others. All new additions to the list are highlighted in red, so that they can be clearly seen. If you are a member and not yet listed your surname interests, please send them over to the Membership Secretary, members@ryedalefamilyhistory.org for inclusion.
We do not publish any email addresses, so if you want to contact a member, please note the membership number and contact via the Membership Secretary.

15 May 2016
New surname interests update

Some of our members have submitted their surname interests for inclusion in our database. It's worth taking a look to see if the surname you are interested in is being researched by one of our members, as they may have some vital information that you need!

If you live in the area and need transport to this meeting or any future meeting, please contact the office and we will try to arrange this.For more details please contact the Janice Wood on 01653 628952 or 07813 977613 or check our website at www.ryedalefamilyhistory.org

The meeting is open to everyone and refreshments will be available along with a raffle. 

Freda Shaw is a committee member and events and speaker organiser for Ryedale Family History Group, she has been actively involved in raising the awareness of rare breeds and is a supporter of the work of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust for most of her working life. Freda Shaw earned the nickname 'Mother Noah' due to the range of animals she transported for showing whilst involved with Shirecliffe College, Sheffield.

Freda says, "an animal's pedigree is vitally important and these can be used to track their lineage such as the racehorse which has descended from one stallion, known as Eclipse. Our ancestors worked with a wider variety of animals in the past, for their livelihoods and to sustain them, their history is as fascinating as our own family history."

The speaker is Freda Shaw who will be talking about 'Down on the farm, who do they thinkthey are!' The talk will cover the history of rare breeds, many being brought over by invaders, returning armies or explorers to Britain. 

Ryedale Family History Group's next meeting is on Wednesday 15 June at 7.30 pm and will be held at the Royal Voluntary Service Centre, Hungate Community Centre, Pickering YO18 7DG.

3 June 2016
June Meeting

Caroline Davis, one of the Market Managers said "I have been researching my family tree for many years. I recently organised a family reunion. The centerpiece was the family tree, which generated much discussion and story telling. Come along and see the exhibition, chat to the experts and combine this with choosing some fabulous local produce at the market between 10.30-13.30.”

Volunteers from Ryedale Family History Group will be available throughout the exhibition to give advice and help with any aspect of family history.

Family trees can be used to show relationships clearly for all sorts of areas, not only for families, but also for example rock bands, as members change this can be recorded on a chart, also medical uses, which are called genograms, and many more uses.

The exhibition will feature the traditional types of family trees along with current ideas and examples and also using other materials such as needlework and also the various formats for printing them from large scale to small versions.  Membership Secretary for Ryedale Family History Group, Geoff King said "We are delighted to be working together with Hovingham Market to set up this exhibition to demonstrate the wide and varied ways of showing family relationships. It will be a good opportunity to catch this extensive exhibition."

Saturday the 6th August sees an exhibition of family trees on display at the popular Hovingham Market. The exhibition is open from 10.00am until 3.00pm in the Community Room at Hovingham Village Hall.  Ryedale Family History Group regularly have a stall at the Market and this exhibition showcases the many different types of family trees available.

Family trees are used to show the relationships between family members and can be shown in many different and creative formats from linear to photographic; computer software to hand painted trees. The Ryedale Family History Group have gathered a wide range of examples to illustrate the diversity of family trees along with explanations of the various types to inspire anyone to have a go.

27 June 2016
Family tree exhibition at the Hovingham Market

The competition is open to members of the Ryedale Family History Group and the prize is 
Lifetime Membership

The closing date for entries is 31st October 2016.

Please send your story to secretary@ryedalefamilyhistory.org or by post to
The Research Room,
Village Hall,
YO62 4LA. 

In approximately 1,000 words, the subject of your story should be:
If you could meet one of your own ancestors, who it would be and why

14 August 2016

Stories are coming in for our 2016 Short Story Competition.

14 September 2016
September Meeting

Ryedale Family History Group’s next meeting is on Wednesday 21 September at 7.30pm, at The Moorside Bar & Club, The Royal British Legion Club, Shaw Drive, Kirkbymoorside, YO62 6JE.
The speaker is Maxine Willett, Project Archivist, with North Yorkshire County Record Office, who will be presenting ‘Attics and Acres’ the story of the Graham Family archive, which was purchased, conserved and cataloged by the North Yorkshire County Record Office through a successful bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The Graham Family Archive relates to the estates at Norton Conyers, and Nunnington which belonged to the Graham family from the mid 18th century to 1839 when spiraling debts led to the sale of the estates.  The archive is vast and gives an insight into the workings of an estate and the local gentry, and includes papers relating to the sale of properties in the 1620s, court rolls, along with various letters.
Maxine Willett who leads the project and recruited volunteers to help with this important work said “ We were very pleased to have had such a positive response to this project and many people have been involved, taking part in cataloging and safeguarding these items for the future; the documents within this collection cover 600 years of history”.
Freda Shaw, Programme Organiser for Ryedale Family History Group said, “This is a fascinating story, not only of the contents of the Archive but also the work undertaken by the volunteers to bring them to life and enable many more people to enjoy them.  Charlotte Bronte is reputed to have been inspired by Norton Conyers for creating Thornfield House in Jane Eyre, following a visit there when she was a governess.”
The meeting is open to everyone and refreshments will be available along with a raffle. If you live in the area and need transport to this meeting or any future meeting, please contact the office on 01653 628132 or mobile 07813 977613 or email: secretary@ryedalefamilyhistory.org

1st October 2016
October Meeting

Ryedale Family History Group’s next meeting is on Wednesday 19 October at 7.30pm, at The Royal Voluntary Services Centre, Hungate, Pickering, YO18 7DG.

The speakers are two former nurses, Eileen Brereton and Anne Wall who will be talking about the recent 'Home Comforts' project, launched by North Yorkshire Records Office and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The project was to mark the centenary of the First World War and to research the Red Cross Auxiliary Hospitals that were set up in what was the old North Riding area. These hospitals were set up in a range of properties; there were 32 hospitals in the district during the war years, which treated thousands of patients.

Anne and Eileen have discovered many extraordinary stories, along with how medical treatments advanced during this time, this project has led to the publication of a book, ‘Home Comforts: The Role of Red Cross Auxiliary Hospitals in North Yorkshire 1914-1919’. So popular has this book been that a second edition has been printed.

Freda Shaw, Programme organisor for Ryedale Family History Group said, “ We are delighted to have been able to book Anne and Eileen to speak at our meeting as the pair are much sought after for their well received talks across the region and beyond. We as a group have carried out a lot of research into local World War One memorials and are
looking forward to learning about another aspect that had an impact in our area.”

Anne Wall said” We had no idea at the beginning of where this project would take us or how fascinating this research would be to us. Certainly it has been pleasing to raise awareness about these vital hospitals and the role of women in an aspect that can sometimes be overlooked, along with celebrating the role of volunteers and local community.””

The meeting is open to everyone and refreshments will be available along with a raffle. If you live in the area and need transport to this meeting or any future meeting, please contact the office on 01653 628132 or mobile 07813 977613 or email: secretary@ryedalefamilyhistory.org